Green and White Tea

White tea in its purest form is made from unopened buds cultivated solely for this type of tea. These budsets are shaded for the last three weeks of growth. After plucked, they are dried in shaded areas with good air circulation, which prevents greening. The leaves are fired or steamed right after withering of the plant. White tea is the least processed of all teas, creating a light and sweet taste.

Three types of white tea are recognized:

  1. The traditional budset from Fujian Province – Flowery White Pekoe or Silver Needle.
  2. “New-style” leave white tea, from Fujian Province (bai Mudan, Shou Mei).
  3. Traditional-style budset white tea from other sources (Anhui Province’s Imperial Silver Nededles, India’s Craigmore Estate Nilgiri white tea, etc.)

The main differences between white and green tea are that in processing white tea, no de-enzyming occurs, creating slight oxidation. With green tea, there is de-enzyming, but no oxidation.

Traditional-style white teas are only picked from select plump spring bugs. Bai Hao Yin Zhen is the most expensive grade of Fujian white tea. Approximately more than ten thousand handpicked buds are needed to make 2.2 pounds of this tea. These buds are covered in downy hair giving this tea a velvety appearance and delicate flavour. New-style white tea is shade-dried. Outdoor withering in the shade and indoor withering with cool air occurs, but a third step is also included of bake-drying. This dries the moisture of the leaf cluster, creating a more concentrated flavour at a lower cost.

White teas include: White Peony, Silver Needles, and White Darjeeling.


Green tea is not oxidized, and thus keeps a green appearance and its flavours resemble the natural leaves of the tea plant. After the tea is plucked, it is left to air dry. This is known as primary drying and it aids in preventing oxidation. After arriving in the factory, fresh leaves are air dried on mats, which allows for a reduction of moisture. There are six variations on processing green tea. Artisanal methodologies include: Sun-dried, Basket-fired and Pan-fired green tea. Modern methodologies include: Oven-dried, Tumbled and Steamed.

There are various types of green tea including: Genmai Cha, Gunpowder, Hojicha, Lung Ching, Mao Feng, Pi Lo Chen, Sencha and Matcha (used in the Japanese tea ceremony).

One of my favourites, Genmai Cha, is an exotic Japanese recipe that combines popped rice and popcorn with tender and delicate green tea leaves. First used by peasants as a cost-saving measure, the Genmai Cha Pop tea is now equally popular with modern urbanites. Both groups enjoy a refreshing cup that’s both sweet and nutty.

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